PSA: San Bernardino City Election Forum For City Attorney and City Clerk Candidates September 27, 2011 7:00 p.m. 300 North D Street, San Bernardino

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

There will be another candidate forum on September 27, 2011, sponsored by the San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce, for the candidates for San Bernardino City Attorney, incumbent City Attorney James F. “Jim” Penman and former Public Defender and County Supervisor David L. McKenna at 7 p.m., in the Council Chambers, 300 North D Street, San Bernardino, CA 92418.  At 8 p.m., there will be a forum for the City Clerk candidates, Gigi Hanna, Peggi Hazlett, William Valle, Amelia Sanchez-Lopez and Esther Jimenez.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Address: 300 E. State St. Suite 517

Redlands CA 92373-5235
Telephone: (909) 708-6055

Possible Legal Issues of Joint Campaign Signs in the San Bernardino City Clerk and City Attorney November 2011 Elections

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

This weekend, joint James F. Penman for City Attorney and Amelia Sanchez-Lopez for City Clerk signs popped up in San Bernardino.  Are there any issues in having joint signs?  I cannot remember a specific race that I can point to where there have been joint campaign signs, though a web search shows that they exist in other jurisdictions.  In local, non-partisan races, I can see such a move to be beneficial when a group of candidates want to run together as a reform slate, such as in a recall election, or a city council or school board election where a majority of the council or board can change in one election.

As far as legal issues, the ones that immediately pop into mind are sign code issues (being jointly responsible for the placement of your sign if it violates a sign ordinance (such as being in the public right-of-way).  Presumably, should that happen, both candidates could be held responsible for violating the code.   The other issue could be a campaign disclosure of in-kind contributions.  Say, for example, one well-known, well-financed candidate is paying for the sign, and the other, less-experienced, less well-funded candidate is piggybacking on the sign of the other.  There would need to be campaign disclosures of the in-kind contributions.

The only other issue that I can think of has created a joint sign that does not have the permission of the other candidate.  An example that I have seen online is when someone had a joint sign with a presidential candidate wherein the presidential campaign did not give permission for the sign.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Address : 300 E. State St. Suite 517

Redlands CA 92373-5235
Telephone: (909) 708-6055

The Number One Issue in the San Bernardino City Clerk’s Election in November 2011

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

The City of San Bernardino City Clerk’s Office is currently responsible for maintaining and updating the Municipal Code.  While, as I discussed before, the online municipal code is not authoritative, and should not be relied on, good government dictates that cities maintain a fairly up-to-date online municipal code.  Yet, as of the date of this post, the online City of San Bernardino Municipal Code was last revised on November 2, 2009.  This may not be the number one issue in the San Bernardino City Clerk’s Election in November 2011 for the candidates, but it should be.

My recent dealings with the San Bernardino City Clerk’s Office, and indeed my dealings in almost five years as a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, have been good.  When I asked for a copy of the garage sale ordinance, it was emailed to me right away.  They also very promptly presented me with a copy of David L. McKenna’s campaign filings in person.  I recently filed a batch of Government Claims with the City Clerk’s Office, and the staff was professional and courteous.  This is contrast to other dealings with local public entities, such as found in my post, How Not To Handle Government Claims.   The retiring City Clerk, Rachel Clark, was always very nice to me during the duration of my time with the City and after.

However, in this day and age, the online San Bernardino Municipal Code should be online because it takes time away from staff to have to provide updated information not available online.   If the City Clerk’s Office is not open, the public should be able to find out about the current code.  Lastly, even though no one should rely on an online municipal code, nor can they rely on an out-of-date municipal code. If you cannot easily find the current law, how can a resident obey the law?

If the City Clerk’s Office does not have the resources to update the code online, then it should be sent out to a private company.  I am not sure when the codification came in-house, but the City Clerk’s Office handled codification during my entire tenure at the City Attorney’s Office.  Looking at the online code, this was not always the case:

San Bernardino Municipal Code section 1.01.010 Adoption.
Pursuant to the provisions of Sections 50022.1 through 50022.8 and 50022.10 of the Government Code, there is adopted the “San Bernardino Municipal Code” as published by Book Publishing Company, Seattle, Washington, together with those secondary codes adopted by reference as authorized by the California State Legislature, save and except those portions of the secondary codes as are deleted or modified by the provisions of the “San Bernardino Municipal Code.” (Ord. 3981 §1, 1980.)

As far as I can tell, Book Publishing Company or BPC was acquired in 2001, so it no longer exists.  Yet, the Municipal Code still lists it as the Code’s publisher, and as I discussed, it was not the Code’s publisher in 2001, and possibly even before.

In 2011, there is no excuse not to have an accurate online code with timely updates.  Hopefully, the next City Clerk will immediately rectify the situation

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Address : 300 E. State St. Suite 517

                  Redlands CA 92373-5235
Telephone: (909) 708-6055

Contact Information for City of San Bernardino Candidates Election 2011

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

[Updated October 18, 2011]

The City of San Bernardino’s municipal election in November 2011  is very important to the people of San Bernardino.  Traditionally, there has not been a lot of quality information, and as local news-gathering diminishes, I thought, as a public service, I could provide a list of contact information.  I was frustrated a few years ago in a “Pick 4” election for a school board.  I knew two of my votes, but rather than undervote, or randomly vote, I tried to find information about the other people running for office.  It was very difficult to do.  In our online age, that should no longer be an issue.  In that spirit, here is the contact information that I have so far as of October 18, 2011 for the November 8, 2011 election.  I am including the contested races.  The phone numbers and email are from the public internet, usually the campaign website or the public Facebook Info Page.   If any candidate wants any of this information changed, updated or removed, I will do so upon contact by the campaign.  Once again, the order is the same as on the San Bernardino Registrar of Voters Candidate list :

City of San Bernardino Third Ward

Tobin Brinker:  Website, Facebook. As of the morning of October 7 2011, there is no phone number on the official campaign website,  Email.

John Valdivia:  WebsiteFacebook,  Phone number: (877) 825–3270, Email.

City of San Bernardino Fifth Ward

Chas Kelley: Friends of Chas Kelley sent a letter with a magnet.  The magnet says, among other things, “Visit Chas on Facebook,” but I’m still unable to find a Facebook profile for Council Member Kelley as of October 7, 2011.  The magnet also gives a Phone Number: (909) 648-3506 and an Email.

Larry A. Lee:  Website, FacebookEmail.

City of San Bernardino Seventh Ward

Wendy McCammack does not appear to have an online campaign presence at this time.  I was unable to locate an email address nor a phone number as of October 18, 2011

Jim Mulvihill: Facebook,  Phone Number (from public Facebook Page): 909-886-1333, Email.

City of San Bernardino City Clerk

Georgeann “Gigi” Hanna  FacebookWebsite, Phone Number from Public Facebook Page: 909-709-2019, Email.

Peggi Hazlett:  Facebook, as of October 6, 2011, no other information.

Esther Jimenez:  Facebook, Email.

Amelia Sanchez-Lopez:  WebsiteFacebook, Phone number (from Jim Penman’s mailer #2) (909) 882-7085,  Email.

William A. Valle: Website,  Facebook, Phone Number from Public Facebook Page: (909) 486-5636, Email.

City Attorney

David L. McKenna:  Website, Facebook, Phone Number from Campaign Flier and Campaign Website: (909) 264-9021, Email.

James F. “Jim” Penman: Website (as of 10/18/2011, not yet functional, but mentioned in second mailer), Phone Number from Mailers: (909) 882-8986, Email.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Address : 300 E. State St. Suite 517

                  Redlands CA 92373-5235
Telephone: (909) 708-6055

Signs of Fall: Election Billboards and Campaign Signs Popping Up in San Bernardino for Election 2011

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

Chas Kelley, before he was elected to the Council, told a story of how he kept calling a local billboard company to make sure that he would be able to rent the billboards.  Apparently, he still is in contact with the billboard company because the Chas Kelley billboard, appropriately in Kelly green, is up on Kendall Drive.  There is also a Gigi Hanna lawn sign on the Habitat for Humanity house  built on E Street, and a Larry Lee yard sign further south on E Street, including a website address on the sign.

Let’s look at the state of affairs in the 2011 election so far (taken, in the same order, and same ballot titles as the San Bernardino Registrar of Voters Candidate list :

The candidates

Third Ward:

Tobin Brinker, Teacher/Councilman

John Valdivia, Advertising Representative

Fifth Ward

Chas A. Kelley, City Councilman, 5th Ward

Larry A. Lee, Minister/Sr. Pastor

Sixth Ward

Rikke Van Johnson

Seventh Ward

Wendy J. McCammack, Councilwoman/Business Owner

Jim Mulvihill, University Professor/Businessman

City Clerk

Georgeann “Gigi” Hanna, Communications/Administration Manager

Peggi Hazlett, Assistant to Mayor

Esther Jimenez, Senior Legislative Assistant

Amelia Sanchez-Lopez, Health Education Specialist

William A. Valle, Maintenance Clerk

City Attorney

David L. McKenna, Civil Litigation Attorney

James F. “Jim” Penman

San Bernardino City Attorney

City Treasurer

David C. Kennedy
Where are we in this campaign?  It’s just getting started.  As I related in the earlier discussion regarding the City Clerk’s race; local candidates wait until after Labor Day, but can be punished if they wait too long because of the effect of vote by mail.  According to the Registrar, the first day that Vote by Mail ballots can be mailed is October 11, 2011.  Similarly, early voting at the Registrar of Voters begins on October 11, 2011, a little than a month before the elections.  This is the “get to know you” part of the campaign, where candidates extoll their virtues rather than attack their opponent (the City Attorney’s race notwithstanding).

So, which candidates are on the ball and have working internet sites (that can be found at this date and time)?

As of the morning of September 13, 2011, less than two months from the election, in the same Registrar of Voters order:

City of San Bernardino Third Ward

These are the most notable sites of all the elections:

Third Ward council member Tobin Brinker has a functional, up-to-date website, and a Facebook page.  The main site has a blog.  There are links to YouTube endorsement videos, which is a cost-effective use of video.

Third Ward challenger John Valdivia has a website, too.  And a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.  They are not quite as polished as council member Brinker’s sites, but they are full of enthusiasm that any challenger could use as a model.

City of San Bernardino Fifth Ward

Fifth Ward council member Chas Kelley does not appear to have a website up and running at this moment.

Fifth Ward challenger Larry A. Lee has a website and a more active Facebook page.

City of San Bernardino Sixth Ward

Rikke Van Johnson is running unopposed.  Council member Johnson does have a personal Facebook page.  There is a link to website on the page, but it is currently a dead link.

City of San Bernardino Seventh Ward

Seventh Ward Council member Wendy McCammack does not appear to have an online presence at this time.

Perennial Seventh Ward challenger Jim Mulvihill has a Facebook page, but does not appear to have a website.

City of San Bernardino City Clerk

This is a rare open race with no incumbent.

City Clerk candidate Georgeann “Gigi” Hanna.  It took a little searching, but Ms. Hanna does have a Facebook page.

City Clerk candidate Peggi Hazlett, does not appear to have a web presence at the moment beyond a LinkedIn page that is not related to her bid.

City Clerk candidate Esther Jimenez has a Facebook page.  She does not appear to have a website.

City Clerk candidate Amelia Sanchez-Lopez has a brochure-style website.  Ms. Sanchez-Lopez does not appear to have a Facebook page.

City Clerk candidate William A. Valle has a Facebook page.  He also has a website.

City Attorney

City Attorney challenger David L. McKenna has a very simple website.  He may have a Facebook page, but I was unable to find it.

San Bernardino City Attorney James F. “Jim” Penman does have a website, electpenman.com that still features his last Mayoral campaign.

City Treasurer

City Treasurer David C. Kennedy is unchallenged, and virtually absent from the Internet.

The most interesting information that I have found on the web is the Third Ward race.  I think the other candidates in contested elections should look at the two contenders in that race for ideas about what to do.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Address : 300 E. State St. Suite 517

                  Redlands CA 92373-5235
Telephone: (909) 708-6055